Memories….

As I sit along the shore of Lake Pleasant, I reflect on the past month of life on the road.  Am I ready to head home or am I home?  I don’t have the answer just yet, but I do have a much better understanding of why my mom encouraged me to start Rving while young and healthy.

My mom passed away in 2011.  I was blessed to have had a week of concentrated one on one time with her before her passing.  We laughed, we cried, we shared stories with one another that had previously never been shared.  This was such a special time.  A moment I will always treasure.

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My mom and dad are from Germany and had traveled all over Europe on their motorcycle before immigrating to the United States.  As two very adventurous souls, they either sold or packed all their belongings and took a ship to America for an adventure with a two-year old (my brother) in tow.

My father did not speak any English with the exception of some inappropriate phrases taught to him by American soldiers.  My father spent his eighteenth year in an American/French prison camp.  He had been a German soldier during World War II and had been captured by the Americans.

My mom being a bit more adept at picking up languages, knew enough English words to get by.  What guts and fortitude they had to leave their home, their family, their familiar surroundings and travel to a country….a country that had previously bombed and destroyed their homes and towns.  Their intent was to explore the United States for two years, go to Argentina for two years, and return home to Germany.  As we all know, life does not always happen as planned.  I showed up a bit more than a year after their arrival to America.  Thus, with two kids and all the responsibilities associated with a growing family, the travel they intended to do was slightly out of reach.

Summer weekends were spent at Chicago’s Lake Shore with the additional car camping trip to Wisconsin or Michigan.  During these explorations, my father developed a passion for fishing.  Summer vacations were soon spent camping in Wisconsin at various lakes.  My brother and I loved these trips.  We would spend hours swimming, making new friends, catching frogs, fish, grasshoppers and lighting bugs.  Television was never missed.

When my sister came along, a pop-up trailer replaced the tent.  My dad also added a boat, which was pulled by his fishing buddy and co-worker.  The guys would fish early in the morning and again late in the day.  I guess that’s when “the fish are biting”.  During the heat of the day, my brother and I learned to water ski.  Oh, how fun these vacations were, and I thank my parents for such fond childhood memories.  Yes, a picture as perfect as a Norman Rockwell painting.

I recall one summer in particular when the “Union” went on strike.  I didn’t know what this meant other than our vacation schedule was changed and extended.  My brother and I thought this strike thing was awesome.  It meant a month on vacation in Wisconsin instead of only two weeks.  We didn’t have a grasp of our parent’s increasing stress with each call made from the phone booth.  Obviously the calls were to check on the status of the strike.

Fast forward………three grown kids, empty nesters, and retired.  It’s finally time to see America, the whole reason for coming to this country so many years ago.  For over fifteen years and two motorhomes later, they explored the United States making friends from around the country.  This experience turned into the best years of their lives.  My mom’s face would light up just talking about their travels and the friends they made.  What incredible memories and joy.

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It’s January in Pueblo West and February is fast approaching.  My mom’s birthday would be at the end of February.  I really miss her and am saddened by the loss.  Thus, I start a discussion with Al about hitting the road.  Al briefs me on things we’re missing or lacking.  The Rig only has one battery, the Honda 2000 generator is adequate but having the Companion would be more ideal.  We won’t have TV while boondocking and we don’t have mobile internet service.  I view all of this as minor inconveniences.  We never had any of these things during our Boundary Water Canoe Area days….  backpacking and canoeing.

So in honor of my mom’s memory, we’re off on our first long road trip, exploring this marvelous country I was blessed to have been born and raised in.  Thanks mom and dad…..I love you……………..        miss you, mom!

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